Someone recently asked me what my view was on vocabulary to learn a language (Chinese in particular) and I was wondering what your personal views are. I have read blogs, seen youtube videos, and so on. Usually these people, like Kaufmann, are either Linguists or Polyglots, but I am wondering how the average person here on LingQ feels about the importance of vocabulary in learning Chinese and maybe stories of how important vocabulary has been for their learning process.
In my opinion vocabulary is the most important thing to learning a language. Ofcourse one of the first things to learn a language is to get familiar with how to more or less pronounce the words, some basic sentence structure etc. But if you really want to get into a language you need vocabulary so that you will start being able to listen and read, something that LingQ does PERFECTLY. With Chinese this is especially important, because as how I like to call it; Chinese is a 3 way language.
I have never read someone else saying it, but this is just my own thought. Im quite sure that this has been laid down by someone else better than I can. But here is my motivation:
If you read a word in Chinese you don’t just not know the meaning, but you also have no idea how to pronounce it.
If you hear a word in Chinese you don’t just not know the meaning, but you also have no idea how to write it.
If you don’t have a vocabulary yet, there is no way how you can watch a Chinese movie with double subs and absorb both the written Chinese and the English (or any other language). Same goes for reading a book. Even if this book is written in Hanzi, Pinyin and .
So yes; vocabulary is the most thing to learning any language as often said, but the biggest reason why this is so important for Chinese is because it is a 3-way language (unless you are learning Mandarin and are already fluent in any other Chinese language)
Unrelated to the topic, but part of the conversation that I had with my friend.
In learning Chinese there is this other thing : trying to write. It is not that hard to recognize Chinese characters (It’s just a lot of different images that have a meaning), yet it is terribly hard to learn how to write. When I explain this to other people I always say:
You know what a cow looks like right???
Now try to draw one